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April 4 evening update: The latest on the coronavirus and Maine

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Belinda Brewer uses decorative skeletons to hold messages reminding the public of proper coronavirus preventative measures, outside her home, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Freeport, Maine.

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Here’s a roundup of today’s COVID-19 news in Maine and New England, as of 6 p.m. Read all of our coronavirus coverage here.

— There have been more than 1,000 deaths connected to the coronavirus in the U.S. since the BDN published today’s morning update at 7 a.m. As of Saturday evening, the virus has sickened 301,902 people throughout the country and caused 8,291 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

— Maine reported another 24 cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 456.

— The virus has been reported in 15 of Maine’s 16 counties, according to the latest information from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The only one without a confirmed case is Piscataquis County.

— Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah announced that a man in his 70s from York County had become the 10th person in Maine to die after contracting COVID-19.

— The greatest numbers of the virus have been reported in Cumberland and York counties, which had 231 and 95 confirmed cases, respectively, as of Saturday morning.

— Use our COVID-19 tracker and interactive map to see how many cases have been reported in each Maine county.

— Here’s everything we know about the Mainers who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 so far.

— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 192 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 131 in Connecticut, 20 in Vermont, 17 in Rhode Island and seven in New Hampshire.

— Do you have any questions about the coronavirus and how Maine is responding to it? We’re still accepting questions and will do our best to answer as many of them as we can.

— President Trump has approved a federal disaster declaration for Maine due to the coronavirus, Gov. Janet Mills said Saturday. The “major” disaster declaration will unlock federal funding assistance for the state and municipalities throughout Maine.

— Houlton Regional Hospital and Cary Medical Center in Caribou are cutting pay for hospital staff as both wrestle with a sharp drop in revenue and an expected rise in coronavirus patients.

— That reflects what is happening at hospitals nationally. Even as hospitals scrounge for professionals from the industry to treat the burgeoning numbers of people with COVID-19, others are on the sidelines as elective procedures, diagnostics and appointments are canceled or postponed.

— Outdoor educators throughout Maine are stepping outside their comfort zones and producing videos for the first time, using whatever tools they have, even if it’s just a smartphone. For people who are staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19, these impromptu productions are serving as a source of education, entertainment and inspiration.

— This Maine woman was diagnosed with coronavirus but not tested. The uncertainty is the worst part, she says.

— Here’s a roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media.

— Three Massachusetts men are facing misdemeanor charges for driving to Rhode Island to play a round of golf in violation of a state order that requires out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days during the coronavirus pandemic.

— Some states and cities that have been shipped masks, gloves, ventilators and other essential equipment from the nation’s medical stockpile to fight the coronavirus have gotten an unwelcome surprise: the material is unusable.

— Plus, with the federal stockpile dwindling fast, and the Trump administration limiting access to what’s left, state leaders are going to extraordinary measures on their own to secure face masks, ventilators, gloves and other equipment essential to fighting the outbreak. They’ve ventured into a global market-place one governor described as the “wild, wild, West,” only to compete against each other and their own federal government.

— The sheer practicalities of death — where to put the bodies — are worrying just about everyone as cities, hospitals and private medical groups clamor to secure additional storage.

— President Donald Trump announced new federal guidelines Friday recommending that Americans wear face coverings when in public to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus. The president immediately said he had no intention of following that advice himself, saying, “I’m choosing not to do it.”

— President Donald Trump said Friday his administration will try to stop “profiteers” from exporting medical protective gear, shortly after picking a fight with manufacturing giant 3M, a major producer and exporter of face masks used to protect health care workers from the coronavirus.

— Italy and Spain, with combined deaths of more than 25,000 and nearly a quarter-million infections, have reported a high percentage of infections among health care workers.

— But there’s some good news, too. Thanks to an overwhelming response from people who suddenly found themselves stuck at home, shelters say they have placed record numbers of dogs, cats and other animals. If past trends hold, many of those who agree to temporarily care for a pet will ultimately decide they want the animal to stay for good.


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